What is Ménière's disease?
Ménière's disease is a balance disorder caused by an abnormality found in a section of the inner ear called the labyrinth.
There are an estimated 615,000 people in the US who have Ménière's disease, with 45,500 new cases diagnosed each year.
What causes Ménière's disease?The labyrinth has two parts:
The membranous labyrinth is encased in bone and contains a fluid called endolymph.
When the head moves, the endolymph also moves, which causes nerve receptors in the membranous labyrinth to signal the brain about the body's motion.
When, for some reason, the endolymph increases, the membranous labyrinth balloons or dilates (a condition called endolymphatic hydrops).
If the membranous labyrinth ruptures, the endolymph mixes with another inner ear fluid called perilymph.
The mixing of the two fluids is believed to cause the symptoms of Ménière's disease.
What are the symptoms of Ménière's disease?
The following are the most common symptoms of Ménière's disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms can occur suddenly, or may happen daily or infrequently.
The most debilitating symptom is vertigo, which can cause the patient to have to lie down, as well as:
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Ménière's disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Ménière's disease:In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, the physician may request:
Treatment for Ménière's disease:Specific treatment for Ménière's disease will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment may include: